Western History & Genealogy Blog

Colorado Narrow-Gauge Railroads

WH32 Bowman-White Papers
WH32 Bowman-White Papers
WH32 Bowman-White Papers
WH32 Bowman-White Papers
WH32 Bowman-White Papers

Rare Railroad Find


John Henry Bowman moved to Georgetown, Colorado in 1885. He bought stock in the American Sisters Mine, a silver mine in Clear Creek County, Colorado. Bowman’s daughter, “Mellie,” married John James (“J.J.”) White, who bought the rest of the mine and also practiced law. Today, the Bowman/White House in Georgetown is a historical site.


WH32, available in the Western History Department, is a collection of the papers of these families that reflects their lives in Colorado. Included in the collection is a box of nitrate negatives. Dennis Hagen, is an expert and an enthusiast in narrow-gauge railroads. He was very interested in the following images as was Charles Albi, a railroad author and expert who volunteers at the library.   The first image shows Engine Number 4 – a Shay-type Locomotive.  Although similar to locomotives used on the Argentine Central near Silver Plume, Colorado, Charles Albi discovered that this engine was actually used byCalifornia's Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railroad.   The next two images are of Engine 69 of the Colorado and Southern Railroad probably near Elk Creek, Colorado.  Engine 69 pulled the scrap train that dismantled the Georgetown Loop in 1939, and it was the last engine to run at Black Hawk in Colorado.   Two cabooses are clearly visible in the photograph of the train crossing a bridge. This photograph was taken near Elk Creek in Clear Creek Canyon.   The last image portrays Engine 60, but look at Engine 69 on the other end of the train. It turns out that engine 69 is pulling a dead engine 60 and coach to a final resting place on display in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  This photograph was probably taken around 1941.   The date of the images is not known. The Colorado and Southern Railroad bought the Georgetown Loop in 1898 and continued operating along Clear Creek until the early 1940s, so it is likely that the photographs date from in between those two dates. If anyone can tell us more details about the photographs, it would be greatly appreciated.

Shay #4

I became quite excited by the description of Shay #4, hoping that it had somehow ended up in Colorado... Alas, it would appear most likely that this picture was indeed taken on Mount Tamalpais (which is just north of San Francisco); #4 was scrapped in 1931 after the railway closed. I am glad see this picture. Thanks for sharing!
--"The first image shows Engine Number 4 – a Shay-type Locomotive. Although similar to locomotives used on the Argentine Central near Silver Plume, Colorado, Charles Albi discovered that this engine was actually used by California's Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railroad."

Seniority rosters

I'am looking for a seniority list for brakeman and conductors on the clear creek div. 1890s thru 1910. If someone can help Thank you very much.


C&S No. 60

I agree with Shane's comments. The presence of the coach in the consist is another clue. In the final years a coach was not a usual part of this "mixed train." Any passengers, most likely railfans by that time, rode in the caboose or, if they wished, in an open freight car. This was told to me years ago by the late Richard Kindig.

Charles Albi Colorado Railroad Museum

Probable dates & location

Very neat collection of photographs! All of the pictures which are of the Colorado & Southern locomotives and trains appear to have been taken at a location on the railroad known as "Forks Creek", where the railroad, and the north and south forks of Clear Creek, diverged. One track of the railroad went north to Central City and Black Hawk, the other, more southerly route went west to Idaho Springs, Georgetown, and Silver Plume. The railroad had a water tank and buildings at this location, which is why this seems to be the most probable location. The photograph showing locomotive #60 in the foreground may very well be the #60's last trip up the canyon. Notice that there is another locomotive in the background, and it has visible smoke coming from its stack. #60 does not, and appears to be being pulled "dead" (not steamed up). The #60 is also very clean and shiny with new paint, which makes me think this may have been the train that took #60 up to Idaho Springs, where it was left on permanent display by the Colorado & Southern Railway in 1941, and it still is there today. If there is any concern of my accuracy with these photos, please contact me via email.


Shane Schabow Brakeman, Georgetown Loop Railroad


Everything you said is right but the location. This is not Forks Creek. This is Elk creek which was the water stop before Forks Creek. I can tell this because of three things, Forks Creek the water tower was on the other side of the tracks, the pump house is also on the wrong side, and at Forks Creek the tracks split before the bridge while Elk Creek was singal track.